27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Well … we were eventually going to reach this passage and today we have. We all know it’s there; especially if we are male. How many times have we read this and thought, “I don’t think I could go without an eye” or “I would prefer the use of both hands, thank you.” Growing up, guys were taught that you could “look but you can’t touch.” Is that any real way to live?
The question: How serious was Jesus? He was serious enough to bring up hell (complete, eternal separation from the Triune God). The religious people assumed they were in the clear because they did not commit physical adultery. Jesus reminded his audience that He was about the heart. Jesus reminds us once again, “I am about the heart.” It wasn’t just physical adultery that was an issue – looking and dwelling were issues too. No one is innocent here.
Our deep need for satisfaction will never be met by the things we look at, think about, touch, etc. Our deep longings for missed affection or the lack thereof will never be met by another person or another thing. Our fleshly appetite will never be met with glances or gazes or mental scenarios. Our satisfaction and affection will only be quenched by Jesus Christ in Jesus Christ. He is enough.
Or is He?
Is Jesus enough gentlemen? Ladies, is Jesus enough? As a believer and follower of Jesus you have gained the rights to all that Jesus is and has and offers. Everything! All of it is yours in Christ Jesus. Have you stopped to think about that? You should. Where can you go to see it? I would start in Ephesians (New Testament book of the Bible) Chapter 1.
If only we would grasp the fact that in Christ we have all. Our flesh lies to us. The world lies to us. The adversary lies to us. We are so accustomed to believing lies that when the truth stares in the face we question it.
Don’t question it today. Trust and believe. Jesus is enough. He really, really, really is.
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
How many times have you said, “Well, that got blown way out of proportion.” If you are anything like me you’ve received gold medals and accolades for all the relationships you’ve destroyed along life’s way. This is not something to be proud of. We all look back on those episodes and recognize how differently it should have gone; “if only” is the melody of our life.
When Jesus speaks He provides a plan of action. Life is messy and relationships are messier. When a matter arises settle it quickly. Jesus gives us common sense in action. How do we do this? We communicate through the conflict. We don’t set up a meeting for later in the week. We address the issue immediately. When our focus is Jesus and when our desire to let Jesus love others through us, we will need His help to bring resolution so we can get back to the loving others part.
The problems start to snowball when we don’t do this. When we over think we create chaos. We open ourselves up to more conflict. The situation is handed over to another party, more issues arise. Jesus ends this by saying, “You are going to pay handsomely for it.” – This won’t be a good pay day for anybody.
Jesus is not throwing up abstracts or pie in the sky thinking. He is addressing messy life and messy relationships. He is saying, “I can help. I am Jesus.” Why don’t we let him do what only he can do? As much as we’d like to help, it’d be better if we let Jesus live His life through us. It takes submission and patience on our part. These are things the Holy Spirit helps with. We are not left high and dry.
As we look at His Sermon we must also talk to Jesus. We can ask for His help. This is a great first step; it might even be the only step. Relax and re-engage. There is time to meet that adversary on the road of life today. Talk it out, pray together, let Jesus love that person through you.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
If you’ve ever left something at home and realized it as you drove away you remember having that “ummmm” moment. How we react speaks volumes. What we choose to do speaks volumes too. If it’s important we immediately turn around and go back home and get that thing we forgot. If it is not that important we debate in our mind whether going back is actually worth it. Our inner dialogue begins. We wait to see who or what wins out.
Jesus is after the heart. He is after our hearts. How we view others, react to others, and love others is vitally important. Jesus says that love sums up the Law and the Prophets. Translated, this is a big deal.
All of us attend church with other things on our minds. Often times it revolves around food or our tasks once we arrive. How often do we stop to do a heart check; to ask God if we have left any relationship, any conversation, which is in need of repair, unresolved? Remember, Jesus is after the heart. Our passage seems to say that the gift is important but the reconciled relationship takes precedent.
Now in our world of go, go, go we can’t fathom turning the car around on our way to church to heal a broken relationship. What we can do instead is work diligently to keep our relationships dedicated to and surrounded with Jesus. Don’t leave the scene of the crime, the accident, without repair. Don’t go be religious and forget the great commands of Jesus.
As we let Jesus live through us He will help us with this. As we keep our relationships whetted in Christ we won’t need to fret about such things. The more WE do to keep our relationships afloat the less we allow Jesus to engage, rearrange, heal, and bless those that we love and those we love to be with.
His Sermon is less about what we do and more about what He can and will do. Will you let Him? Will you let Jesus live His Life through you?
19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
The Word became flesh and He is Jesus. He commands adherence to the Law of God. Greatness in the Kingdom of God belongs to those who do and teach the commandments of God. Our righteousness must begin on the inside and work its way out.
Only Jesus can accomplish this change in us. The religious leaders worked from the outside and their righteousness was empty. All of God’s Word is good and profitable. Christ accomplished what we could not accomplish on our own. We needed Him before we realized we needed Him.
What Jesus did we could never do. Thank Him today for accomplishing your righteousness. He lives and in Him so do you. Blessings follow those who humble themselves under His Rule and His Reign.
I’m praying you will Open His Word and Enjoy it today (and everyday).
“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
Yesterday we read that Jesus loved the Law and Prophets. He came to fill it up fully. Building on this, today we read that it will all be accomplished. God is in the details. The sacrifices and ceremonial laws of the OT predicted or foreshadowed events in the life of Christ.
We must recognize that all of the Bible points us back to Jesus Christ. He is One, the First and the Last, Beginning and End. The religious leaders were into the details too but the details pointed back to their works of righteousness and not The Work of Righteousness that is Jesus Christ.
This section of Matthew requires us to dig deep, it is weighty, but it is definitely worth it!
Open His Word and Enjoy it today.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The Christ Follower is blessed when they are insulted and persecuted because of Jesus. When we follow Christ fully, when we speak truth against lies, when we shine the light of Christ into the darkness, persecution will come. It may be physical persecution but often times its verbal insults. They treated the Prophets the same way.
To know that Jesus Christ calls the persecuted ones blessed is a great encouragement. We can boldly speak truth in love and stand firm with confidence. We are in good company. This comes as no surprise to Jesus Christ. It should not come as any surprise to us. We must know who we are in Christ, who we belong to, and live that way. Let us keep the focus on Him.
Let us, together, not be defined by our fears but instead trust. Trust Jesus. Be glad and rejoice He says!
Open His Word and Enjoy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
I’ve been camped on that all morning. It deserves time to marinate in this soul. Praying that you too will let this Truth abide in you.
It’s pointing me to Psalm 139:23-24. His Word flows from Sunday to Monday.
Open His Word and Enjoy.